SOS Children in Zimbabwe

Children from Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe used to have one of the best education systems in Africa. Economic problems changed living conditions in the country and now millions are desperately poor. Our charity helps some of the poorest children in Zimbabwe – those without family and those at risk of losing their family.

With SOS Children, you can help orphaned and abandoned children in Zimbabwe by sponsoring a child:

Sponsor a child in ZimbabweLiving with the impact of HIV/AIDS

With a prevalence rate of 14%, the percentage of people with HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe is one of the highest in the world. Of the approximately one million living with the disease, around 150,000 are children. Whilst many in Zimbabwe are literate due to the country’s former educational excellence, now around nine in ten schools are closed and young children can miss out on an education. 39% of the population live in poverty, so for many when schooling is available it is unaffordable. In rural areas, about 2 million people do not have access to improved water sources as many pumps do not work.

Children in Zimbabwe

  • Due to a lack of available resources, regulations that protect children in Zimbabwe are not always enforced.
  • Underage marriage is reportedly common in rural areas. Rape and sexual abuse against children are also reported.
  • In Zimbabwe, over a hundred children die every day from diseases that are easily curable in more developed nations.
  • There are approximately 1.4 million orphans in Zimbabwe, around a million of the total have been orphaned due to HIV/AIDS. A high number of orphaned children grow up with HIV/AIDS.

Zimbabwe MapOur charity work in Zimbabwe


We built our first community in Zimbabwe in 1983 to help children who had lost their parents in the struggle for independence. The SOS Children's Village Bindura is in the Mozowe valley, about 50 miles north of the capital of Harare. It has 15 family houses and seven SOS Youth Homes: three in the Village and four in nearby Chipadzi. The SOS Nursery, which offers full day care, together with the well established SOS Primary and Secondary Schools, are open to nearly 2,000 children from both the SOS Children's Village and the neighbourhood.

Since 2003, Family Strengthening Programmes have been co-ordinated, offering access to essential services for children’s development and supporting families to protect and care for their children. The programmes reach out to over 3,000 children a year and provide them and their families with food, school fees, basic medical treatment, counselling and psychosocial support.

Esther -  Zimbabwe


In 1989, we opened SOS Children's Village Waterfalls in a suburb of Harare. Up to 180 children can find a new home in the 15 family houses and each family has its own garden to grow fruits and vegetables. In order to meet the needs of the growing number of youths who had outgrown the SOS Children's Village, eight SOS Youth Home were established in 1998, where up to 100 youths can stay during higher education or further training and prepare themselves for an independent life. The Village is also home to two hospice houses for SOS children and staff suffering from AIDS. The SOS Nursery and SOS Primary School are open to local children.


We opened a community in 1995 in the capital of Matabeleland Province, Bulawayo. The SOS Children's Village is located on the banks of the river Matsheumhlope in the Matabeleland Province and enjoys the advantages of the infrastructure of the city: local secondary schools and markets are within easy reach. It has 15 family houses and ten SOS Youth Homes. The SOS Nursery and SOS Primary School provide for the educational needs of local children as well as the SOS children.

The Village also offers Family Strengthening Programmes which help link families with income generating activities and offer help to improve the parents’ parenting skills to provide a better future for their children.

Aids Orphan Projects

See also more information on our Aids Orphan projects in Zimbabwe.

Life in SOS Children's Villages Zimbabwe: Edward's story

SOS ... giving children a family

Child-headed households are an increasingly common occurrence in Zimbabwe. Here is the story of one such family and how they came to live at SOS Children's Village Bindura.

Edward* and his three young brothers, Sibanda*, Takawira* and Thomas* found themselves alone after their mother died in 2007. Initially, their father returned to the family but soon after his return, both he and the youngest child, Thomas, passed away. This left Edward, who was then aged just ten, looking after his two brothers who were eight and nearly five. Before he passed away, his father had told the boys and neighbours that there were no other family who would be able to care for the boys. Members of their immediate community tried to care for the boys as much as they could, but the community itself was struggling. Food was very scarce, there was little work and because of the situation at the time in Zimbabwe, the community had no security about where they were staying and their living conditions were very poor.

The boys’ plight was brought to the attention of a lady who was volunteering with a home-based care programme which was working in the area. This service brought some food and any necessary medications to the small family. Unfortunately, caring for his little brothers and the destitution of the family meant that Edward was unable to attend school. So, just a few months after starting school, Edward was unable to return. The lady from the home-based care service referred the family to the social services department and, after consideration, they approached SOS Children's Village Bindura to see if the little family could be placed there.

The three boys were welcomed into house mbizi, which means “zebra” in Shona, by SOS mother Patricia Nembire at the end of 2008. Under Patricia's care, they have found a close family environment in which to recover their childhood and to rediscover a loving family situation. Patricia says that right from the beginning the boys were well behaved and polite. "The boys mix easily with others. They are very responsible boys and Edward enjoys helping me in the garden." One of the things that has made Edward the happiest is being able to re-start school at SOS Hermann Gmeiner Primary School which is near to the village. His teacher, Angeline Gombakomba, says of Edward, "he is very responsible in his outlook and tries to be the 'big brother' of the class. If I have to leave the classroom for a moment, it is always Edward who offers to monitor the others." "I'm very happy to be in a home with my two brothers and SOS family members - I'm happy to be back at school after so long!" Edward tells any visitor. He is also able to spend more time on the gardening which he enjoys and attributes to 'running in the family' as his father was a farmer, and playing football with his new found friends.

Although at times, Edward would still like to be the one making the decisions for his brothers, he is happy to relinquish the difficult responsibilities and relax to enjoy his childhood. All three of the brothers seem to be flourishing in their new family.

*For privacy reasons, the names of the boys have been changed.

Local Contact

SOS Children's Village Association of Zimbabwe

P.O.Box HG 766



Tel: +263/4/746 451, +263/4/746 452, +263/4/746 453

Fax: +263/4/746 454